Tonight's midseason finale for The Flash ended with a major cliffhanger, one that opens the door to one of most iconic of the Speedster's comic book story arcs -- "The Trial of the Flash."
Spoilers for the midseason finale of The Flash, "Don't Run," below!
Tonight, Barry Allen/The Flash (Grant Gustin) managed to escape from The Thinker (Neil Sandilands) in time to join his friends and family for Christmas at Joe's (Jesse L. Martin) house. But this is a midseason finale, and things never go that smoothly. Barry gets a notification on his phone that security is going off at the loft. He goes to check on it, assuring Iris that it's probably just more wedding gifts being delivered, but it turns out to be far worse.
While Barry is at the loft he gets a call from Dominic Lanse, the bus meta Caitlin rescued who reveals that he's not Dominic Lanse anymore. And that's when The Thinker's plan reveals itself. Behind the couch is the dead body of Clifford DeVoe. He's been stabbed in the chest with the same mysterious knife Barry and Iris got as an unmarked wedding gift -- they had received a weird gift of just one knife -- and the police are at Barry's door. As it turns out, DeVoe had taken Dominic and put his mind into the healthier man's body. It not only allowed him to continue on without his failing health to drag him down, but to frame the only man who could stop him for murder.
While this looks like the absolute worst nightmare for Barry, especially considering that his father was wrongly accused and convicted of his mother's murder, this unfortunate turn of events sets the show up for the classic Flash story arc that we've previously speculated could be coming, "The Trial of the Flash."
In the comics, Professor Zoom murders Iris, and, some time later, Barry tries to move on with a new relationship, his fiancé Fiona Webb. Zoom returns and tries to kill Fiona, but Barry stops him by snapping his neck and killing him. Barry is put on trial for Zoom's death and Barry is found guilty. However, Barry finds out that Abra Kadabra (disguised as Reverse-Flash) brainwashed the jury, and the Flash flees the trial. The story resolves with Barry finding out that Iris' spirit ended up in the 30th century, so Barry goes there, reuniting with Iris to live "happily ever after."
While tonight's episode doesn't kill Iris, DeVoe's "murder" is enough to put Barry on trial similarly to what happened in comics, and there are plenty of small details, even from previous seasons, that set up for this. Last season, Abra Kadabra is one of the people who mention DeVoe to Barry in the first place, giving the villain a connection to the supposed crime that just took place. Also, during "Crisis on Earth-X," Eobard Thawne makes a comment to Barry about wondering what face he will be wearing next time they meet. This could be a related reference, meaning that Reverse-Flash could be coming back as part of the trial as well.
And one more thing to consider about "The Trial of the Flash". In comics, we don't see Barry Allen again until "Crisis on Infinite Earths", where Barry sacrifices himself to the Speed Force. As we've already seen Barry do that last season, doing a variation of "The Trial of the Flash" seems to make a lot of sense.
The Flash returns from winter hiatus on Tuesday, January 16, 2018 at 8/7c.